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With all eyes on Hurricane Florence, a Facebook post is casting fresh doubts on the federal government's response a year ago to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

"Those are just the facts of what happens when a frightful hurricane hits an isolated place like an island", Ryan said when asked about Trump's tweet.

Instead, he argued, without providing evidence, that the death toll was a Democratic claim to make him look bad.

Mr Trump said people who died for any reason - "like old age" - had been added to the total.

"The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous".

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz responded: "Simply put: delusional, paranoid, and unhinged from any sense of reality".

"You keep thinking Trump's vileness and dishonesty has lost its power to shock, then he takes it to a new level", Noble Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote on his Twitter feed, following the Trump death toll denials.

It's not the first time Mr Trump and Ms Cruz have exchanged taunts on social media, with the San Juan leader having been critical of slow pace of the relief effort by federal authorities at the time of the category-four hurricane.

DeSantis' statement did not mention Trump by name, but his campaign's decision to come out against the President's view was particularly noteworthy given the candidate openly courted Trump during his primary campaign and has commended him countless times.

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He also said that "the victims nor the people of Puerto Rico deserve to have their pain questioned". "The casualties mounted for a long time, and I have no reason to dispute those numbers".

Stephen Colbert laid into President Donald Trump on The Late Show Thursday night after the commander in chief denied the death toll after the hurricanes in Puerto Rico as reported by his own government.

"The Coalición de Boricuas en Minnesota was literally started by texting, 'Have you heard from your family?' and we got started trying to do something", Franzen said.

Trump's comments drew outrage, with critics pointing out that Maria led to the deaths of almost 3,000 people. But even some Republicans-especially those in Florida-are among those disagreeing with the president's assertion about the estimate from researchers at George Washington University.

Ryan said the numbers were "a function of a devastating storm that hit an isolated island", and added, "that's no one's fault". "It's just what happened".

"We agree that no estimates regarding loss of life have been inflated and we remain focused on ensuring a full recovery for the island and creating more economic opportunities for those arriving in Florida", Cortes said in an email. "It wasn't because this president doesn't care about Puerto Rico".

"We left this analysis to the scientists and experts, recognising that there would be many challenges, because we wanted to have a powerful and independent voice to minimise the uncertainty", he said in a video on Facebook.

Trump has previously said his administration's handling of the storms was "an incredible unsung success".


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